Monday, July 21, 2008


Horse neglect - 6 seizedPaducah, KY (US)

Incident Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2008
County: McCracken
Disposition: AllegedCase
Alleged: Linda Kingston

Six horses are now in the care of a veterinarian after McCracken County Animal Control officers found them in what one officer called “appalling condition.

”Officers took the malnourished horses from a property on Mayfield-Metropolis Road in McCracken County after receiving an anonymous call.

They charged Linda Kingston with six counts of inhumane treatment.Officers say a veterinarian found signs of mistreatment. Jeff Brown of McCracken County Animal Control says one horse was so malnourished it wasn't able to get up.

"They're all older horses. We've got a couple that are in their upper 20's and we've got some that are only 5 and 6 years old,” said Brown.The horses were taken to a holding center where a vet will treat them and give them the food and water they need.

Case Updates

Authorities in Paducah said a necropsy will be performed on the body of a horse that died after being seized with five others from a McCracken County woman's property.

County animal control officer Jeff Brown said the most seriously malnourished of the horses had been showing signs of improvement, but worsened Saturday night and was euthanized.

Authorities charged Linda Kingston with inhumane treatment of animals.Brown said Kingston blamed the lack of nutrition on poor quality hay.He said the other five horses were showing signs of improvement.

The animals were seized Wednesday after a veterinarian examined them and said they were malnourished.
Seizure Gone Wrong Update (07/24/08):
McCracken County Attorney Dan Boaz is launching an investigation into what happened to five apparently malnourished horses seized from their owner in May.

Jeff Beach and Donna Collier of Reidland, who cared for the horses for 45 days after their seizure, have raised questions about whether they are being looked after as agreed in a court order signed July 2 or whether they were auctioned.

Judge Tony Kitchen's order gave custody of the horses to Jody Dick of Marshall County on July 2. "It is my understanding that court order did not transfer ownership, and that Mr. Dick was supposed to retain custody until the matter was resolved," Boaz said.

Boaz said he planned to go to the McCracken County Sheriff's Department this morning and ask for an investigation into what happened to the horses.

McCracken County Animal Control seized six of Linda Kingston's horses May 28 from her home o n Mayfield-Metropolis Road. One was later euthanized after it was unable to stand.

Kingston filed a motion through her attorney, Will Kautz, asking a judge to grant custody of the horses to Dick because she feared she could not pay the county's cost for caring for them until her court case is resolved. Her case is scheduled for a hearing this morning in McCracken District Court.

Although the motion says that Dick had agreed to take both possession and ownership of the horses, the court order signed by Kitchen, Kautz and Assistant County Attorney Sam Clymer makes no ention of ownership, only custody.

In a letter to the court, Dick said he would keep the horses at his parents' 55-acre farm near Benton. The farm is mostly pasture and includes a pond for drinking water, he said.

Jody Dick's mother, Sandra Dick, 70, said she has never talked to her son about keeping any horses on the farm.

"I know no thing about this," she said. "You'll have to talk to my son, who is 42 years old and who doesn't live here. ... The horses have never been here, and I don't know what they're talking about."

Jody Dick did not return phone a reporter's phone calls Wednesday night. He also did not return calls from McCracken County Animal Control Officer Jeff Brown, Brown said.

Brown said he had previously spoken to Jody Dick's wife, Kristi Dick, and that she told him they had found homes for seven of Kingston's horses that were not seized and planned to look for homes for the other five.

"At no point did we ever think they were going to take them to an auction and auction them off," Brown said. "We were under the assumption they were going to go to a 55-acre farm in Marshall County. Animal control went out and looked at it, and it had a nice pasture and large pond."

Beach said he began suspecting the horses were not being taken to the Marshall County farm after a phone call from veterinarian Rhonda Caudill, who was treating the horses. Kristi Dick had come to the clinic and demanded copies of the horses' health papers, she told him. Kristi Dick had listed on paperwork that the horses were being taken to the Marshall County farm.

"They were in such an uproar about getting those papers, and they didn't need them if they were going to take them somewhere in Kentucky," Beach said. "That threw up a red flag."

Beach and Collier continued to care for the horses until July 18, 16 days after Kitchen signed the order. That day, a man came to Beach's home to claim the horses. Beach recognized him as a horse trader he has seen at several auctions.

When talking to a friend that evening, Beach learned an auction was taking place that night at Southern Illinois Equine Sale in Goreville, Ill.

"It was too late for us to get there and try to do anything," Beach said.

Chris Ray, owner of the livestock auction, said late Wednesday he recalled selling the horses but could not recall to whom. That is not uncommon since he auctions 120 or more horses at a time, he said. Ray said he was sure he had a record of the sales in his computer, but declined to provide it to a reporter.

The auction does not require proof of ownership.
"If you've got the Coggins test and the health papers, that's showing to me they're the owner," he said. "That's the only proof we've got to have."
Update 07/25/08:
The horses have been found. The detective on the case found them in IL and they are on their way back.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Kingston Enters Alford Plea In Starving Horses Case

PADUCAH, KY - The Paducah woman, whose starving horses were taken from her in May, entered an Alford plea Tuesday in McCracken District Court. Officials say there was enough evidence against Linda Kingston to go to trial, but she is not admitting guilt.
The judge ruled that Kingston will have to spend 60 days incarcerated at home, pay the county almost $7 thousand in restitution, sign over ownership of the remaining horses and not own any more horses. She will also be on probation for 2 years.
Back on May 8th, Kingston's horses were seized by county animal control officers at her Mayfield-Metropolis road home after they received reports of the horses being underfed. They were taken to Stonecreek Stables, where one of the starving horses died.

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